By Rocky Garza Jr. for Project Spurs
Timothy Theodore Duncan celebrated his 45th birthday yesterday and fans can only imagine his excitement was the same as shown to the right.
All jokes aside, to honor the Big Fundamental, I compiled a list of the five most memorable moments he had while donning the silver and black.
The list begins below:
5) Duncan’s insane 20-footer prayer overshadowed by the controversial 0.4 Derek Fisher basket
Man hearing 0.4 and Fisher still haunts me to this day as a fan…. and I still don’t think he got it off in time.
It’s the 2004 Western Conference Semis and the Spurs are facing a Los Angeles Lakers team loaded with future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton.
Bryant just buried a 20-footer to put them up 72-71 with 11 seconds left in the game and the Spurs get one last chance to win the game.
Duncan would get the ball off the inbound, dribble, and shoot an awkward, fading off-balance 18-footer over Shaq and cashed it in while leaving only 0.4 seconds left in the game.
Mostly everyone thought the game was over and there was a zero percent chance that the Lakers could even pull a shot off, but Fisher had other plans.
He would get the ball off inbound, spin, shoot and sink the heart-breaking buzzer-beater and completely destroyed the glamour around Duncan’s insane shot in just 0.4 seconds.
However, TD’s Shot was still a legendary shot that will be remembered forever.
4) 2005 Game 7 Duncan against Detroit
If we look back at 2003 and 2004, we see the Spurs defeating the New Jersey Nets to net their second championship in 2003, and ending the potential Lakers 3-peat that had Fisher and Kobe Cry.
However, in 2004, Fish, Bryant, and the Lakers would get their revenge and knock out the Spurs in the Conference Semis.
Now it’s 2005 and the Spurs are cruising through the Western Conference playoffs with wins over Denver, Seattle and Phoenix and got awarded with a face-off with the defending NBA champions, the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons were known for their gritty, defensive style and had a star-filled squad of Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Tashaun Prince, and Ben Wallace.
The series would go back and forth and make its way to Game 7 and Duncan would come up clutch in the big moment once again by dropping a 25 points-11 rebounds stat line, while also getting some help from Manu Ginobili had 23 points and 5 rebounds.
Duncan would go on to win his third Finals MVP award and brought home the Spurs third championship.
3) The near quadruple-double against the Nets in 2003
The Spurs would face off with the Nets in 2003 and beat them in six games to win their second title in franchise history, but in this Game 6-clincher, Duncan would put on an absolute clinic.
He would post a near quadruple-double with 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists and 8 blocks and some fans feel he was robbed of two blocks, but a title over pleading for a correction on his legendary performance has to make up for that at least.
2) Duncan goes back-to-back with MVP awards
Duncan was an opponent’s nightmare on the court during the 2000s and it can be argued that he can be considered the greatest PF of all time.
He would win back-to-back MVP awards in 2002 and 2003 and become the first Spur to ever win multiple awards, while also being one of 12 players in NBA history to win back-to-back awards.
The MVP awards weren’t the only hardware he got to take home as he retired as a 5-time NBA champion and 3-time NBA Finals MVP as well.
1) The 2014 Finals: The Beautiful Game
The Spurs were coming off a 2013 heartbreaking NBA Finals defeat from the Miami Heat and there were questions on whether they would make it back.
It seemed destined that 2013 was their year, but many people saw and described the 2014 season as the Spurs revenge tour.
The Spurs would take Game 1 against the Heat with Duncan leading the charge with 25 points and 10 rebounds, but his performance was overshadowed by LeBron getting carried out due to cramps from being dehydrated.
LeBron would respond in Game 2 with 35 points and helped beat the Spurs in a close 98-96 battle, but the rest of the series was history.
The Spurs would dominate the Heat en route to their fifth championship and fans were able to enjoy the unselfish ball movement the team prided themselves on to run them off the court.
Duncan would average 15.4 points and 10 rebounds for the series and get his fifth title as well. Although he may not have won another Finals MVP, he got redemption along with his teammates from last year’s nightmare.
Let me know what your top five most memorable moments you can recall of Timmy D and Happy Birthday Tim, 45 is the new 21.